Charlotte Mason believed that my part, as an educator, is to look over the day's work in advance and "see what mental discipline, as well as what vital knowledge, this and that lesson afford" (page 180). Today, Pamela started Chapter 3 of Miracles on Maple Hill. At the beginning of every chapter, I try to find a graphic organizer to help her get back into the plot. In this case, I chose one in which the student writes what is known and asks questions about what is unknown. Charlotte believed that children ought to come up with their own questions when reading (page 181),
Let the pupil write for himself half a dozen questions which cover the passage studied; he need not write the answers if he be taught that the mind can know nothing but what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put by the mind to itself.In the story, the protagonist, Marly, is a little girl whose father is grieving his experience as a soldier and prisoner of war in World War II. The family decides to move to the country to farm and fix up her deceased great grandmother's old abandoned house in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. At the beginning of the chapter, Marly enters the neglected house for the first time. We left one column empty because we hope the book will answer these questions. Having previewed the chapter, I know she will be able to answer the third question after she finishes Chapter 3.
In the video clip, you can see us in action. I edited portions of the clip in which Pamela was writing and added titles to spotlight what we are doing. The first obvious thing is how much Pamela references me both verbally and nonverbally! Second, I try to rely on declarative language as much as possible, even when redirecting her when she misses the mark. One thing to keep in mind is that open-ended questions with no right or wrong answers are declarative if she willingly offers an answer. Third, she pays attention to nonverbal cues when I use my gasp and face to point out a missing question mark. I plan to follow-up with more posts and clips about how we blend graphic organizers, Charlotte Mason, the association method, and RDI to teach Pamela written narration.